Business group backs Dons stadium move as consultation deadline looms

Business groups have heralded the potential economic impact of the Dons’ Kingsford plans as the deadline marking the end of public consultation looms.

If built, the new stadium, close to the Aberdeen bypass, would have a training facility completed first for the first team to start using in 2018.

The 20,000-capacity stadium – which has taken inspiration from Bristol City’s Ashton Gate stadium for its design – is expected to be completed by the start of the 2020/21 season.

Thousands of people have already written to the local authority in support of the project which will go before Aberdeen City Council on May 10.

But those who have not yet had their say only have until the end of today to voice their opinions.

Last night business group, Opportunity North East (ONE), said they believe the new facilities would be an asset to the region.

A spokesperson said: “ONE supports the ambitious vision of the Club and Trust.

“A thriving and successful football club, which can achieve its goals on and off the pitch and plays an active role across our communities, is a significant asset to the region, in socioeconomic terms and in promoting a sense of wellbeing and pride.

“The proposed training, community and stadium facilities represent a circa £50million private sector investment in the region at a time when our economy is challenged.

“Securing a new home for the Club and Trust will produce a range of positive sporting, social and economic impacts.

“It is therefore essential that the relevant parties work in a coordinated fashion to achieve this.”

The Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce (AGCC) recently revealed that if the move goes ahead the Dons’ impact on the economy would increase by 66% to £20million.

The Aberdeen City and Shire Hotels Association (ACSHA) is also in favour of the idea.

Aberdeen’s vice chairman, George Yule, said: “There is widespread support for our proposals, ranging from private individuals through to major organisations representing the business and sports communities.

“Any project of this scale will also attract some form of opposition and we recognise that.

“However, the valid issues raised are not insurmountable and can be addressed via the planning process to enable this essential project to proceed at a time of significant economic challenge for our region – sending a very positive message to the wider world that we are open for business and work together to make positive change happen.”

The Dons’ move to Kingsford has been met with some opposition.

The No Kingsford Stadium group has been fighting the proposal and have submitted an official objection.

They are unhappy that the proposal is to be built on the only remaining piece of greenbelt land between Westhill and Kingswells and also believe that moving the Dons away from the centre of Aberdeen will have a negative impact on the city centre.